[UPDATE 2: Today's Parent picks up our story.]
[UPDATE: Huffington Post picks up our story.]
Bill White has been a crossing guard in Peterborough about eight years now. For the majority of those years, he has been giving high fives to students while on duty.
But at a crossing guard training seminar on November 21st, he was informed by his lead guard and a supervisor from the City of Peterborough that high fives were no longer allowed.
"I objected to this rule," Bill tell us, "but the reason stated was that we are not to have any physical contact with the children."
Bill thinks the rule is silly as not only do the kids like it but the parents are there and like it, too. It's a feel good thing, a special part of the day.
Indeed, parent Jason Hartwick tells us the kids love the high fives: "Bill gave them high fives all last week, and all year, and for years before that. Monday morning, he said, 'I can't give high fives any more. We were told we had to stop.'"
"Both of the Guards near our school (Prince of Wales) have been giving high fives for at least 7 years," Jason adds. "I know this because I've had kids there that long. It has never been an issue, nobody has EVER said a word about them doing it, and the kids LOVE it."
We asked the City of Peterborough about this policy and we received this detailed reply from Kevin Jones, Manager of Transportation:
"The City of Peterborough's policy for crossing guards restricts all forms of physical contact between Crossing Guards and children, and has for some time now. The duties of an adult crossing guard are governed by the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, and the guard's primary responsibility is to stop approaching vehicles to allow safe passage of all persons, including themselves, across the roadway.
While on duty the Crossing Guard's responsibility is to be fully aware of the intersection or crossing location and all of its surroundings, including approaching vehicles and children on both sides of the crossing. Any distractions can reduce focus and attention of the Crossing Guard while they are working. In order to perform the duties of a Crossing Guard, they need to be 100% focussed on their job.
Physical contact between the Crossing Guard and the children is not only a distraction to the guard, but may have other implications as well. It is for this reason our policy restricts all physical contact between guards and children to ensure that distractions, which could potentially affect safety, do not take place while on duty."
So what do you think about the policy? Should crossing guards like Bill be allowed to High Five students? Or is this a smart policy to protect kids? Tell us on our Facebook page.